Written by: Natasha Ganesh-D'Arcangelo
As a brown therapist there are 6 things, I want you to know about therapy;
1. Going to therapy doesn’t mean that you are crazy:
Every single womxn is going to experience a time in their life where they feel overwhelmed with sadness or anxiety. Reaching out for professional help doesn’t mean that you are crazy or weak, it means that you are human and for a period of time you need a little extra help. It’s okay to not be okay.
2. Your friends are amazing. They also can’t be your therapist:
I hope that you have a fantastic, supportive group of friends. As amazing as they are, something is missing when you share your problems with them. There is likely not a lot of problem solving going on because they are on your side. As a friend, they are going to empathize and support you. As a therapist, I am going to help you see things from a different perspective and gain insight into why you may be acting against your own self interests.
3. It might take a few tries before you find the right therapist:
There have been studies done where they tried to determine what makes therapy successful. Those studies have found that years of experience, training and level of education your therapist has doesn’t matter. The relationship you develop with your therapist is the single biggest predictor of how successful therapy will be for you. Many therapists offer a free phone consultation so you can get an idea of their personality and their specialty (trauma, anxiety, postpartum issues, etc.). If you don’t feel comfortable, I recommend you ask for a referral to chat with another therapist.
4. Therapists are like rainbows:
We come in all different colors. I call myself a brown therapist because I don’t think folx realize that there are therapists that look like me. The American Counseling Association reports that less than 30% of licensed professional counselors are BIPOC (black, indigenous or people of color) which means the field needs more diversity. If it’s important to you that you have a therapist that looks like you, you can search for that. Here's a free resource from the American Counseling Association to help you get started:
5. It might not be as expensive as you think:
There are many employers who offer an EAP service (Employee Assistance Program) as a benefit. This means that your employer will pay for you to have some free therapy sessions. It cannot be reported to your employer that you are seeking therapy because it violates privacy laws. If you have commercial health insurance and use an in-network provider, you might only be responsible for a copay. There are therapists who provide services based on your income, or a sliding scale basis. You can find more low-cost services through your local community mental health center.
6. Therapists don’t have all the answers:
The truth is you don’t go to therapy so the therapist can fix your life. If I had all the answers, I would have written a book and made millions off of it by now. We don’t have all the answers, we just ask the best questions. Therapy is a place to go to be heard without fear of judgment, to process through life events, learn coping skills and gain insight. By understanding yourself better, you can begin to change how you live your life. That might look like healing from past trauma, learning to set boundaries with folx and defining what fulfillment means for you. Your therapist is your partner on that journey, not the all-knowing expert.
About the Author
Therapist and Professional Speaker on Compassion Fatigue/Burnout with 14 Presentations given for CEU's and 8 Given for Media